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  • Writer's pictureDavid George

2024: The Challenge Facing Property, FM, and Workplace Professionals

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Time to Think

As the C-Suite attention turns from the pandemic, to sustaining revenue and profitability through an inflationary time and economic downturn, an opportunity exists for property, FM, and workplace professionals to take some time to review their office space.

Challenges may include a lease expiry in the next two years which could highlight current issues. Under normal circumstances that can be quite a straightforward decision, but for many it is now a moment of uncertainty.

With office utilisation generally around half of what it was before the pandemic, what needs to happen to provide certainty? Should we be looking to increase occupancy? Is the C-suite comfortable with current levels of utilisation? Perhaps we should be looking at rationalising space, or spaces? But where to start with that?

Are our spaces working well for the employees? Are the spaces no longer meeting the needs of a more flexible workforce? Would redesigning help? And what about the view that we are spending too much money on half empty offices?

So Many Property and Workplace Questions

When defining a new office strategy, there can be many questions. You may be curious about which locations foster the most productivity and unsure which designs enable employees to do their best work. It may seem impossible to decide which level of occupancy will be most advantageous for your business and how much office space will be required.

Forget ping pong table, coffee machines, and novelty designs, the most successful workplaces are those which are optimised to support an organization’s way of working. In simple terms there needs to be a direct correlation between the configuration of the space and the activities employees will do when they are in the space. The configuration needs to have the right type and quantity of worksettings to match the employees’ needs.

Getting to the Workplace Solution

Understanding the needs, activities, and collaborative relationships, along with the frequency and size of interactions of all your employees can be daunting in such a dynamic working environment. But this data is essential to creating a successful workplace that enables employees to be productive, and for creating a space they actually enjoy working in – and not one that just looks nice!

Deep employee engagement provides the foundational answers needed to define a hybrid or flexible workplace strategy.

Essential Tools

The Workplace Experience Platform (WEX) is our bespoke tool for employee engagement and evidence-based solutions; it has enhanced information gathering allowing our specialists to accurately forecast the needs of your workforce. Some companies turn to data from access control and sensors, and while this provides useful insights, what this information does not tell you is why people are there, what is missing from the office, and most importantly what needs to be changed or enhanced to encourage optimal occupancy.

The WEX Platform allows us to look beyond data provided by traditional approaches and make decisions based on information that is predictive of the most impactful ways for office use in the future.

Key Benefits of Using WEX

WEX can show how teams work, who they interact with, how often, what they will be doing and in what numbers. WEX also shows how much time they will be spending in the office and on which days.

The WEX collaboration mapping function means that spaces can be planned to encourage interaction and collaboration across teams as well as listing out exactly how many worksettings are needed of each style. The final output provides a detailed worksetting budget that calculates how much office space you really need!

  • Employee Buy-In: Employees are engaged in the process which leads to greater ‘buy-in’ to the end solution.

  • Identify and Design Use Cases: Establish User Personas to understand the needs and numbers of workers on a spectrum from remote to in-office.

  • Relevant Data at Your Fingertips: Capture and present data from across the organisation, which can be filtered by location, department, role, age, length of service & much more.

  • Enhance Knowledge Exchange: Map employee collaboration to inform a design that enables serendipitous interactions, knowledge exchange, and innovation through adjacency planning.

  • Reflect and Forecast: Understand occupancy levels, who will come in, when and how often.

  • Right-Sizing Real Estate: Determine how much space the business needs to be efficient & effective.

  • Procure with Confidence: Validate type, quantity and size of work settings and spatial types that will best support employee activities.

  • Enhance Office Performance: Understand locations of spaces to best support your employees.

  • Take the Guesswork Out of Your Strategy: Evidence to support decision making across a range of metrics, blending the strategic view with the view from the frontline.

At iPWC we would love to provide you with fresh ideas, insights, and optimisation strategies to take what you are currently doing to the next level.


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